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Study helps bridge gap in understanding of suicide risk for African-American women
Date:12/13/2012

WASHINGTON, DC, December 13, 2012 Three University of Kentucky (UK) sociologists have co-authored a study that helps to fill a gap in our understanding of suicide risk among African-American women.

Appearing in the December issue of Social Psychology Quarterly (SPQ), the study, "Too Much of a Good Thing? Psychosocial Resources, Gendered Racism, and Suicidal Ideation among Low Socioeconomic Status African American Women," examines the relationship between racial and gender discrimination and suicidal ideation, or thinking about and desiring to commit suicide. The co-authors of the study include assistant professor Brea L. Perry, associate professor Carrie B. Oser, and Ph.D. candidate Erin L. Pullen, all from the UK Department of Sociology.

In basic terms, the study investigates risk and protective factors for mental health among African-American women with low socioeconomic status. The researchers found that women who have experienced more race and gender-based discrimination have a higher risk of suicidal ideation than women who have experienced less discrimination, which reinforces previous research on the positive correlation between discrimination and poor mental health.

However, the study goes even further to examine whether different psychosocial resources such as eudemonic well-being (sense of purpose in life), self-esteem, and active copingthat have traditionally been found to be protective of mental health among white Americanscan buffer the effects of racial and gender discrimination on suicidal ideation among low socioeconomic status African-American women.

Perry said that some of the findings were unexpected.

"We were somewhat surprised to find that moderate levels of eudemonic well-being, self-esteem, and active coping are protective, while very high and low levels are not," Perry said.

The SPQ study used data from 204 predominantly low-income African-American women, colle
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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